As part of my research into the effectiveness of teaching methods into disaster risk mitigation in Dominica I organised a field session around the (small) city of Roseau. This fieldtrip took place in April 2018 after the entire island had been badly affected by Hurricane Maria (in September 2017).
The fieldwork involved students aged 15-16 years old and would be a walking tour of the city to identify and discuss evidence of multi-hazard. The aim of the trip was to improve student understanding of different local hazard risks and with the aim for them to evaluate the suitability of existing mitigative measures in place (e.g. hurricane shelters / river defences). Students undertook a guided tour visiting sites and evaluating the evidence based on their existing understanding. They developed skills in annotated risk mapping during the visit.
The trip involved school students therefore required permissions from both school leaders and parents. As I had worked with these students for a 5-year period trust was in place, making it easier to gain permissions. Some of the students had disability, including blindness and mobility issues. Therefore, a circular route was planned which incorporated a range of evidence linked to contrasting hazards (e.g. volcanic tephra, landslide deposits, river sedimentation) which was both accessible and included space for students to gather (i.e. was safe). Prior to the visits reiki trips were organised to ensure the suitability of the route. To ensure that the information was culturally relevant and accessible local organisations were invited to contribute and assess resourcing. A local disaster specialist was also able to participate on the trip along with the teaching staff.
The trip was a great success and students reflected on the kinaesthetic learning style and their improved awareness of hazards beyond hurricanes. This fieldwork helped understand the importance of cultural input to make resourcing locally relevant and to ensure that accessibility around sites is appropriate for all involved